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UNI international students adjusting to new ICE guidelines for visas

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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (KWWL) - The international students who are in the United States pursuing a degree are at risk to be deported or leave the country.

The immigration and customs enforcement department says this will happen at universities with certain return to learn plans, due to COVID-19.

The new modification says international students at any U.S. university can not take a fully online course load.

Many universities across the U.S. resorted to online only due to COVID-19.

University of Northern Iowa Office of International Admissions is paying close attention at students course loads to make sure they remain on campus.

Director of International Admissions and Recruitment, Dr. Kristi Marchesani, says the modifications are a new process.

"We're still learning since this is fairly new, we are trying to figure out some of the intricacies in the language that was given to us about this new modification," Dr. Marchesani said.

The decision affects international students with F-1 visas. Dr. Marchesani says there's on average around 400 international students every school year. However, with COVID-19 that number is lower than normal.

All international students attending UNI have an F-1 visa. UNI has a hybrid plan for the fall semester, Dr. Marchesani says they won't need to have students leave the U.S.

"We aren't one of the schools that are completely online right now, and where students are going to have to leave. We can reassure our students that they are going to be able to stay here and continue their classes," Dr. Marchesani said.

Dr. Marchesani says the federal decision is hampering the image of the U.S. secondary education system.

"The decisions that are made by our government certainly impacts the messages that are going out around the world. As to our value of international students," Dr. Marchesani said.

UNI international student, Triet Ngo, is a senior going into the 2020 fall semester. Ngo double majors in marketing management and Management Information System Development.

Ngo says the news on the education visas took him by surprise.

"I know this is a very hard time for everyone, buy you know it's also a chance for the university to truly show its commitment to it's students," Ngo said.

University of Northern Iowa's statement on changes:

All three state schools are going through a hybrid fall semester. UNI and Iowa State start and end early. University of Iowa will be keeping its regular fall semester schedule, but will go online after Thanksgiving, to the end of the semester.

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Vinny Lowerre

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